Tales from the back room

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camus
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Tales from the back room

Post by camus » Sat Jun 18, 2011 12:33 am

I survived by sitting quietly, invisible.
A back straightening stool, my lone edifice.

By eating the last of everything; kidney beans
included. Watching people, alive, outside:

They lanked, they swerved, one sat squat
as an injured accordion, a deep throated

wah, as his head appeared then disappeared
above and beneath this window of mine.

I survived by counting the Robins, there was one.
Has there ever been more than one?

I survived by differentiating, by differentiating
between grey and lighter grey, this was colourful.

I survived by pissing through the abandoned cat flap.
I never took a shite, it didn’t seem right. I was happy

to hold it, to grow pregnant, to suffer like woman.
I survived by pumping a two-pound sugar bag.

Afraid to consume, should it rot my rotting teeth
and bring dentists in their white coats, stumbling

over dog shit and dead children. I survived
by opening the door and stepping outside.
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Oskar
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Re: Tales from the back room

Post by Oskar » Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:35 pm

Grim and disturbing.You seem to be describing some kind of unpleasant, self-imposed exile from the world. It’s all a bit of a puzzle. Dead children?

The moments I enjoyed -
one sat squat
as an injured accordion, a deep throated

wah, as his head appeared then disappeared
Do you need that next line though? It seems to be an unnecessary underscoring of the image.
camus wrote:and bring dentists in their white coats, stumbling

over dog shit and dead children.
A tip of the hat to Philip Larkin? I liked seeing it there.

I'm not too sure about -
A back straightening stool, my lone edifice.
Is that not contradicted later on by -
I never took a shite, it didn’t seem right.
Or was that stool purchased from IKEA?

Regards
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Re: Tales from the back room

Post by Magpie Jane » Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:18 pm

Hi, Camus -

This poem is a feral cat from a dark & disturbing kind of bag. I like it.
And I wish I could offer you some really clever & brainy kind of crit; but honestly, I can't think of much to improve.
Your imagery is unusual, lively, and strong; I fell headlong for your injured accordion and stumbling dentists. Gosh.
The title deserves its own round of applause.

The only changes I would suggest: to replace the ellipses in C4 by a simple full-stop, and
to move "by" in the final couplet from L1 to L2.

Thanks for a gruefully terrific read.

Jane
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Re: Tales from the back room

Post by camus » Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:58 pm

Thanks Oskar,

"You seem to be describing some kind of unpleasant, self-imposed exile from the world"

Yes that about sums it up. Been watching some grim dvd's of late, must lighten my viewing...

BTW The "stool" in line two is of the sitting variety, not the clogging up variety, but obviously I now see the link!

MJ,

Thanks for the words, changes noted, agreed and applied.

I've been working away (well Leeds) I just had to time to pop in, drop this here poem and pop out again. I'm looking forward to catching up with old timers, checking out the "newbies" and doing some half-assed crit.

Cheers
Kris
http://www.closetpoet.co.uk

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Re: Tales from the back room

Post by twoleftfeet » Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:24 pm

Kris, it's great to see you back.

I love the image of a man on a stool as an edifice because it sounds quirky but is actually accurate from a good-posture
viewpoint: I'm sitting on a stool as I type. :)

The only tentative crit I can offer is to run these 2 lines together:

I survived by pumping a two-pound sugar bag.

Afraid to consume, should it rot my rotting teeth


As it stands I think you need an "it" after "consume" but I can see why you would not want two so close together.

Something like:
I survived by pumping a two-pound sugar bag

I dare not consume, lest it rot my rotting teeth


A great (if somewhat grim) read
Geoff
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Re: Tales from the back room

Post by Vincent Turner » Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:48 pm

I also enjoyed this, sure it was surreal, but that's fine by me.

So was this directly inspired by a film? if so why did it prompt you to write about it?

Some great lines here, and I was especially pleased to see it in couplet form as I am a sucker for it- rarely do I pull it off know.

I also liked the rhetoric with the lines about the Robin's.

I am sorry I cannot offer more of a "thorough" critique.

Oh and I checked out your website- its good.

Best Regards

Vincent

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Re: Tales from the back room

Post by brianedwards » Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:21 am

Read this several times Kris and agree it's very skilfully done. Shades of Kafka, Pinter and of course Mr Larkin, but the whole package is unmistakably Kris. Not keen on the "shite/right" rhyme, but I guess I'll be in the minority on that point.

Good to see you back anyway. Get some critting done ye lazy b'stard.

B.

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Re: Tales from the back room

Post by John G » Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:04 am

I recall apparent days like this in my student years, reminds me of JG Ballard short story...and some excellant lines:
I survived by pissing through the abandoned cat flap.
we've all been there
After one look at this planet any visitor from outer space would say 'I want to see the manager.

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Re: Tales from the back room

Post by twoleftfeet » Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:16 am

John G wrote:I recall apparent days like this in my student years, reminds me of JG Ballard short story...and some excellant lines:
I survived by pissing through the abandoned cat flap.
we've all been there
Speak for yourself, John :)
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Re: Tales from the back room

Post by ray miller » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:42 pm

[quote="camus"

I've been working away (well Leeds)
[/quote]

We've all been there.

I weren't so keen on these lines but I enjoyed the rest

I survived by counting the Robins, there was one.
Has there ever been more than one?

I survived by differentiating, by differentiating
between grey and lighter grey, this was colourful.

They lanked. lanked?
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: Tales from the back room

Post by camus » Wed Jun 29, 2011 6:39 am

Thanks for the feedback people.

"Get some critting done ye lazy b'stard."

I honestly will. Just got back from Glastonbury, but I'm touring posts now, and will lend some crap crits shortly (isn't self-deprecation tiring)

Yes - shite/right, dodgy to say the least. I'll think about changing it, but wont.

Can "lanked" be a verb? Is it even a word? yes and yes.

cheers
Kris
http://www.closetpoet.co.uk

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Re: Tales from the back room

Post by Raincoat » Fri Jul 01, 2011 1:37 am

Hi Kris,
I see that you mention that this poem is inspired by films, for me the narrator reminds me of a character from Trainspotting, going cold turkey who is struggling to function, to eat, to sleep, (to even shit, which I’m sure would just make things worse but how should I know :D).. until the final stanza when we get a sense that the narrator is somehow coming out of that initial despair and is finding solace in something?

I like the journey that this poem takes us through, and can imagine this “squat” of a place, the sights, the smells, the chaos in there, the kidney beans, the stool. Yes it’s evocative and skilfully drawn out.
This line I thought was cracking:
by differentiating
between grey and lighter grey, this was colourful.
The only line which I slipped up on was “to suffer like woman” is the article missing to keep the rhythm tight, even so, i don’t think it would upset the rhythm too much to add it and for me doesn’t make me pause to re-read the line which I find breaks the flow (and magic) of getting lost in your poem.

Cheers,
Tess
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Re: Tales from the back room

Post by camus » Sat Jul 09, 2011 11:06 pm

Thanks Tess, although I'm not quite sure what you mean, by this:
The only line which I slipped up on was “to suffer like woman” is the article missing to keep the rhythm tight, even so, i don’t think it would upset the rhythm too much to add it
What is missing? and how could I apply it?

Ta
Kris
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